Courtesy of NBC.

Ever wondered what the set of your favorite talk show looks like in person? Ever wanted to see some of your favorite celebrities close up? Well, it’s a lot easier than you think and it is completely FREE. Yes, free.

Major television companies such as NBC, ABC, CBS, and MTV, seek audiences for their shows through the audience casting and fan engagement agency, 1iota. Through their website, 1iota.com, fans can participate in opportunities to attend shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and more. The shows are located in various locations across the United States.

First, you have to create an account at 1iota.com. Setting up an account is easy and only takes a few minutes. During the process, you can add as much information about yourself as you would like. According to the 1iota website, “The more you complete [on your 1iota profile], the better your recommendations and chances of scoring tickets to an event.”

After you have completed your profile, you can browse the large selection of event offerings. You can also use the search engine to search for a particular show, a preferred location, or a celebrity you would love to see.

Once you have selected an event, you can submit a request for a ticket. The maximum number of tickets you can request range from 2-4, depending on the show. You can submit as many requests for various tapings as you would like; however, if you receive tickets for one show, most shows do not allow you to return to a taping for four months to allow others to see it too.

There may be tickets available at the time of your request, but if they are not, you will be placed on the waitlist. Do not be alarmed by being placed on the waitlist as this does not mean you will not get a ticket. The waitlist might just take longer to get a ticket. Beware that tickets might become available very close to the date of the taping so regularly check the email you signed up to 1iota with for waitlist updates. If you are not able to get a ticket this way, there is another option that will be discussed later.

After you have been given a ticket, you must read the information on it carefully because it contains important information regarding the schedule for the day of the taping. This information includes items allowed (bag size), parking and sometimes even dress code. It is also important to note that most shows have a sixteen years and up requirement.

Courtesy of ABC.

Most talk shows such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or The Late Late Show with James Corden will have a check-in deadline written on the ticket. Seats for talk shows are determined in the order you come in, so if you would like a to seat near the front of the studio, plan to arrive earlier than the deadline. For instance, if you are going to see Late Night with Seth Meyers and the check-in deadline is 4:30 p.m., you should plan to arrive at 3:45 p.m., when the line first opens, to get seated towards the front. Keep in mind that there really is no ‘bad seat’ in these studios because they tend to be small and only seat about 250 people, creating a very intimate experience.

It is important to acknowledge that at the time of check-in your entire party has to be present in order to be allowed in. You must have provided their names beforehand. The person who requested the ticket must also be with this party. This is due to their strict, non-transferable ticket rule.

Photo by Andrew Lipovsky. Courtesy of NBC.

Once you have checked in, are past security, and in the waiting lounge area, you will hear the rules of the show. The biggest rule is that there is absolutely no photography and that your phone must be off at all times. The waiting lounge is also usually the only place where you can use the restroom since once you are seated into the studio, all exits are final. The entire process from checking-in to getting to the studio is about a two-hour wait.

Once in the studio, you are seated with your party in the order you arrived at check-in. Then, a comedian will come out and warm up the crowd. The set manager will say the rules again and give instructions about cues to clap and laugh when indicated. Finally, the host will come out and introduce themselves. This is a brief introduction, as they quickly have to begin the show.

The guests will come out and it is a very fun experience. There is a lot of energy in the room and you are encouraged to laugh, clap, and react more than you normally would when watching the show. During a break while preparing the set for the musical guest, the host will usually do a question and answer session. This is an open time where you can ask the host anything you would like. You should start brainstorming questions you might want to ask them before you get to the studio. After the session, the musical guest will come and the show will be over before you know it so make sure to enjoy it!

Photo by Lloyd Bishop. Courtesy of NBC.


  1. Complete your 1iota profile with as much information as possible. This is explicitly stated by 1iota as a strategy to increase your chances of getting tickets.
  2. Apply for many recordings of the same show and be selective of the dates. Try to select less popular weekdays like Tuesday and Wednesday, when people are less likely to go. Unfortunately, for popular shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, tickets will run out quickly regardless of the day of the week so it is best to try to also take into account the celebrity guest’s popularity. Try to choose a day where the celebrity guests are not so popular as this will increase your chances of getting a ticket. Try to avoid Mondays or Fridays for this strategy.
    Photo by Andrew Lipovsky. Courtesy of NBC.
  3. Stay informed about ticket release dates and plan ahead. Most shows release tickets for a month the month before. The show will usually post the release date for these tickets through their show’s ticket twitter account or website. By the release date for the show, it is best to to have your profile ready, dates in mind, and number of guests you want to bring so that the minute the tickets go live, you can quickly submit to your favorite show. This will increase your chances of getting tickets because very popular shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon fill up fast.
  4. Additionally, standby tickets for sold-out shows might be available. If you are unable to get tickets through the 1iota website and know you will be in the area of the show when it is taping, there is an additional standby option that you could try. Generally, this line will take place the morning of the recording. The specific time for this standby line is available on the show’s website. For instance, shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon have a 9:00 a.m. standby ticket distribution time. Depending on the show’s popularity, you should try to arrive about two hours before, sometimes even earlier. No ticket is guaranteed entrance. The ticket you will be given in the morning is numbered in the order you come in and you will then be asked to return at a later time to see if they they can let you in. Usually shows accepts about 30 or less people through this method. It is important to note that these tickets are for the back of the studio, since they are meant to fill in empty seats.

In the end, getting tickets through 1iota is a factor of luck, but it is well-worth the effort. The experience of going to a taping is very unique and makes for an exciting component of a trip. 1iota also offers tickets for small concerts, movie premieres, and award shows, so it is best to also give these a try. With a lot of determination, getting a ticket is possible.

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